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Aury Cruz had a personal-best 31 kills and 17 digs vs. No. 3 Arizona.

Wednesday November 8, 2000Volleyball Falls in Five at No. 3 Arizona


Aury Cruz had a personal-best 31 kills and 17 digs vs. No. 3 Arizona.

A career, double-double from freshman Aury Cruz (Levittown, Puerto Rico/Bayamon Military Academy) almost enough to lift the ninth-ranked Florida Gator volleyball team to an upset over No. 3 Arizona, but UF fell 15-13, 16-14, 11-15, 5-15, 13-15 in the McKale Center Tuesday night.

Cruz, one of four UF (21-4) hitters to record double-digit kills, posted a personal-best 31 kills for a .318 hitting efficiency and 17 digs. Her kills total tied for the fourth-best Gator single-match record. It was her seventh career double-double.

Freshman Benavia Jenkins (Ft. Pierce, Fla./John Carroll) also had a career-high with 16 kills. Junior Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) had 15, and sophomore Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas/Pine Tree) tallied 11 kills.

Junior setter Kris Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior) was spreading the ball around, and she tied a career-best with 65 assists. Bova also added 11 digs for her third double-double of the season.

UA (22-2) ended UF’s string of 24 matches in which it has out-blocked its opponent with a 12-6 blocking advantage. But the Gators out-dug the Wildcats 66-63 and held UA, which entered the match averaging. 327 offensively (third in the nation), to a .287 hitting efficiency. The Gators finished with a .176 attack percentage.

UF broke out on top in a 27-minute, Game 1 battle. The Gators worked their way back from a 4-1 deficit and only trailed by one once throughout the rest of the game. Cruz posted a .636 hitting efficiency on eight kills to make the difference. As a team, UF out-hit UA .273-.238.

The Gators stole Game 2 from the ‘Cats. UF trailed the entire game after falling behind 5-0 early. Cruz had seven kills, and Hartley had six to keep the Gators in it. UA gave it away while serving for game point. A service error by one of the nation’s top setters Dana Burkholder turned it over to UF. McCray’s serving kept the ‘Cats out of system, forcing six consecutive attack errors. Cruz and Jenkins put down consecutive kills for UF to win.

UA took Game 3, despite a scrappy UF comeback bid. The Gators could not recover from a 6-0 UA lead, but held off game point twice, while rallying with four points. But, UF’s .036 offensive effort wouldn’t compare to UA’s .241 hitting efficiency.

UF struck early in the next frame with a 2-0 lead, but succumbed to the offensive prowess of the Wildcats. UA hit .567 and held the Gators to a .189 hitting efficiency, forcing the fifth game.

A reversed call on an attack from Bova ended UF’s run in the final set. Bova pushed a free ball from her feet for a kill, but it was reversed and called a back row attack error. The Gators had battled back from a 6-2 deficit and were down 13-14 when it was made.

UF will play South Carolina (20-4, 11-1 SEC) for sole possession of its 10th consecutive Southeastern Conference title Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast live at 1:50 p.m. from the Volleyball Competition Facility in Columbia, S.C.

Arizona def. Florida 13-15,14-16,15-11,15-5,15-13

Florida (21-4 overall) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Aury Cruz 31-3-4; Benavia Jenkins 16-0-4; Niki Hartley 15-1-0; Nicole McCray 11-1-0; Jacque Robinson 1-0-0; Kris Bova 0-0-1; Totals 74-5-6.0. (Assists) – Kris Bova 65. (Dig leaders) - Aury Cruz 17; Jerilyn Hattendorf 14; Kris Bova 11; Niki Hartley 11; Kelli Notestine 8

Arizona (22-2 overall) (Kills-aces-blocks) - NAPIER, Allison 21-0-3; RUTLEDGE, Lisa 18-0-3; TALBOT, Jill 17-0-5; DALEE, Marisa 12-0-3; BURKHOLDER, Dana 9-0-1; SARAGOSA, Stefani 9-0-4; TORREGROSA, Shannon 1-0-0; WILLIAMS, Rachel 0-1-0; Totals 87-1-12.0. (Assists) - BURKHOLDER, Dana 62. (Dig leaders) - TALBOT, Jill 19; FROST, Christina 13; BURKHOLDER, Dana 12

Site: Tucson, Ariz. (McKale Center) Date: Nov 07, 2000 Attend: 676 Time: 2:36 Referees: Tana Martin, Peter Meyer

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